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Since 2013, Dota 2 players have used Michael Yossef “Torte de Lini” Cohen-Palacios’ Hero Guides to optimize their gameplay. This project spans 165 guides — accessed through in-game tool tips — that incorporate match data, feedback from pros and user discussion to help players make better choices. These optimized guides help both new and veteran players deepen their understanding of Valve’s MOBA.
Over these 10 years, Torte de Lini has become one of the game’s most influential figures. Players have used his Dota 2 guides 3.4 billion times — averaging 2 million per day. By his estimates, at least one player is using one of his guides in 90.7% of Dota 2 matches.
This is also a major step up from 2021. His guides have 525 million subscriptions, with 40 million subscriptions added this year. He’s also expanded his reach in the community. Last year, he estimated that 86.3% of matches used his Hero Guides — meaning 5% growth in the last year.
Torte de Lini’s influence has had far reaching effects. Valve recommends his guides in their Dota 2 tutorial. On top of this, OpenAI Five followed Torte de Lini’s build guides for their Dota 2 bots. Famously, OpenAI’s bots swept OG, 2019’s World Champions.
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In-guides and coaching have grown with the esports industry. They are essential for elevating the quality of play — especially in genres like MOBAs where there are layers of mechanics to understand. Without these (free) guides, the quality of gameplay would suffer.
Torte de Lini echoes this need in blog post: “When people ask me why I make guides, my initial response is simple: I was frustrated by how my teammates were building their items and I channeled that sentiment into doing something productive about it.”
Building a legacy
Reflecting on his 10 years in esports, Torte de Lini opened up, describing struggles he faced while building his legacy.
“The guides started out as something to prove that I could contribute to the community. But the project became something that remains in my life regardless of what future holds. My future held a lot of ups and downs, but the guides stayed as a fixed point of definition as to who I am and want to be,” Torte de Lini said.
He never quite fit in growing up as the son of a Swiss-Jewish-Egyptian refugee and a Ecuadorian-Spanish New Yorker in French Canada and the U.S.. But Dota and esports became a community where he could belong and contribute. Through his career at several esports startups and personal growth, Torte de Lini has left a lasting impact on esports. In fact, the Dota 2 community erupted into controversy when Torte de Lini took a break in 2019.
“The guides came at the perfect time, a cross-section of my past fears and the ambition to do something to change that in the future,” he added.
While Torte de Lini plans to continue supporting his Dota 2 Hero Guides, he has more in store. He is seeking funding for his next project. Torte de Lini wants to expand into new games — particularly TCGs, RPGs and MOBAs — that need help on-boarding new players into their ecosystems. He plans to build a competitive game guide platform for mobile that brings his signature methodology of combining machine-learning data with the knowledge of expert-level players to communities outside of Dota 2.
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